Tamworth hospital orthopaedic surgery wait times increase

WAIT LIST GROWS: Orthopaedic surgery wait times have grown in the last 12 months. Photo: Peter Hardin 301016PHB001

WAIT LIST GROWS: Orthopaedic surgery wait times have grown in the last 12 months. Photo: Peter Hardin 301016PHB001

PATIENTS are waiting for up to seven months for orthopaedic surgery in Tamworth.

New figures from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) reveal patients at Tamworth hospital waited an average of 217 days for elective orthopaedic surgery in the October to December, 2016, quarter.

During the same period in 2015, patients waited just 62 days on average for the surgery.

Average waiting times for hip replacements also jumped with 18 patients waiting 217 days for their surgery.

This is up from a median wait time of 58 days in 2015.

The BHI figures showed 100 per cent of operations – across all specialties – were performed in the clinically recommended timeframe.

Overall, the number of people on the surgery wait list at Tamworth grew by 11.1 per cent from December 31, 2015, to the same point in 2016, climbing from 1460 to 1622.

The hospital’s general manager, Catharine Death, said the growth in waiting times was “representative of the sheer volume of work being done in the theatres”.

Ms Death maintained 100 per cent of surgeries in the quarter were performed in the “clinically appropriate timeframe” and said the figures were good.

“But we always want to improve,” she said. “We’ll continue to look at how to make sure surgery wait times are as short as possible.”

The hospital will boost its stocks in the orthopaedic department with one new surgeon set to take up post soon, while another specialist position is currently being advertised.

EFFICIENCY: Wait time in the Tamworth ED have improved considerably. Photo: Peter Hardin: 301016PHB015

EFFICIENCY: Wait time in the Tamworth ED have improved considerably. Photo: Peter Hardin: 301016PHB015

Specialities including urology, cystoscopy and prostatectomy saw their surgical wait times reduced in the last quarter of 2016, according to the BHI’s figures.

It was also the busiest quarter for the Emergency Department (ED) in recent history with a 7.2 per cent increase in presentations, up from 10,861 to 11,646.

More than 76 per cent of patients spent less than four hours in ED at Tamworth, which was an improvement of nearly seven per cent on the same time in 2015, and outstripped this year’s state average by more than two per cent. Ms Death said the hospital was working towards getting 80 per cent through ED within four hours.

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